Tudor Life Explored and Anne Boleyn Beseeching Henry VIII to let her live!
The children in Year 5 have explored the Tudor times and the life of Henry VIII. They visited the Epping Forest Museum and Library to extend their understanding. Our workshop there began with looking at the life of Henry VIII on a timeline, where they had to place cards with important moments within his life, which obviously included his many wives! The girls selected to be wives stood against the timeline so that we could visually see when they were married to the king, and this proved to be very helpful and sparked many interesting and well informed comments from the children.
The workshop continued with Donald and Simran being dressed as people from the Tudor times. We were curious to see how many layers people wore, how men’s and women’s clothing differed, and how people’s clothing reflected their social standing. Both Donald and Simran found the clothes to be very constricting indeed!
We also explored the Tudor artefacts and tried our hand at writing with ink and quill. As we were leaving the Museum at Waltham Abbey, we took the opportunity to stand astride the Prime Meridian in Sun Street—half in the East and the other in the West!
The children took all that they had learnt and understood to class and wrote a letter of persuasion from Anne Boleyn, beseeching him not to behead her. These are extracts from some of their letters:
Sophie – 5G –
Dear Darling Henry
I love you dearly and I know you still love me. This letter is to set me free, please read on. Sitting here I miss my family, I miss the outside world. Do you really want me to be beheaded? Does that make you happy? Seeing me makes you happy. Please set me free!
Gregor – 5G –
The Tower of London is horrible. There are revolting rats running everywhere, so please let me back home. If you behead me I will never be able to see you, my family and friends again. I heard you’re seeing Jane Seymour. Please don’t marry her. I can be better than her. I can give you a son. Please don’t marry her, I know her and she’s really not nice and I can be prettier than her.
Georgina – 5N –
I’m smart, educated and wealthy. I can top your riches. Did you know, the dampness of my cell is making me sick? So I could be dead before you behead me. Why would you want to see my head roll down the road? Life just won’t be the same for you! If we go to visit another country and you can’t speak the language, I’m the one to help you there! Believe Me!
Evie – 5N –
Please my King (give me another chance) please I am begging you. Come on I have given you everything, you can’t behead me I am begging you. 93% of people like use together so please keep me. Don’t you love me? All I have done is not given you a boy. I can try again but I am not promising you it will be a boy.
Your loving wife, Anne Boleyn.
The children have very much enjoyed this topic. The ladies at Epping Forest Museum were very impressed with how knowledgeable and engaged the children were. Their behaviour was a credit to them and to Coopersale Hall School. A member of the public also commented on how polite the children were. The teachers were delighted with the excellent questions that they asked and how well everybody conducted themselves.